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My Dell XPS 400 has gone comatose...Help!


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#1 BigElCat

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 11:29 PM

Bummer.

This is the one to which I recently added the Kinston RAM. It was running great. I was researching the SSD upgrade. And tonight, the Dell went down. I was using it to surf the web, I walked away for about 5 minutes. When I came back, the computer had shut itself off, or had died in action. Pushing the power button has no effect.

Could someone point me toward a trouble shooting tutorial, or help me get started with the diagnostics. I guess the 1st step would be to check the power supply. How would I check it, when the computer won't respond to the power button?

Thanks.

Edited by Orange Blossom, 01 August 2012 - 01:05 AM.
Moved to Internal Hardware. ~ OB


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#2 nesto1000

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 12:36 AM

Have you tried hooking the PC in another wall outlet? When you press the button do you hear any fans turning on or anything at all? Did you have the PC hooked up to a surge protector or straight into the wall outlet?

CPU: Intel Core i7 2600k Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 Ram: CORSAIR XMS3 16GB HDD: ADATA (Micro Center branded) 64GB SSD, WD Caviar Black WD7501AALS 750GB GPU: XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 PSU: COOLER MASTER Silent Pro M600 RS-600-AMBA-D3 Case: COOLER MASTER RC-690

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#3 hamluis

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 12:29 PM

Dell Diagnostics - http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/en/document?c=us&dl=false&l=en&s=gen&docid=A9E3A15597A04AFBB02EE16785D39C5C&doclang=en&cs=

Louis

#4 BigElCat

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 01:21 PM

Thanks for the input.

It was plugged into a battery back-up, but the failure was internal to the XPS 400. I used the same power cord to run my second string computer. I know several boot routines, but without power from the 'ON' button, I'm stumped.

#5 Artrooks

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 01:28 PM

How To Manually Test a Power Supply With a Multimeter: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/ht/power-supply-test-multimeter.htm

Regards,
Brooks



 


#6 nesto1000

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:00 PM

You could do what Artrooks posted. A cheap multimeter costs like $10-$20. You won't need the super expensive $50-100 ones.

Hopefully that's your problem and not a fried motherboard. Does your motherboard have any lights on it that turn on?

CPU: Intel Core i7 2600k Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 Ram: CORSAIR XMS3 16GB HDD: ADATA (Micro Center branded) 64GB SSD, WD Caviar Black WD7501AALS 750GB GPU: XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 PSU: COOLER MASTER Silent Pro M600 RS-600-AMBA-D3 Case: COOLER MASTER RC-690

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#7 BigElCat

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 10:18 PM

Status Report:

I was all prepared to do the manual power supply test, but I tried the "ON" button one more time. The computer booted! I shut it down, and proceeded with the preliminary steps of the PSU test; including re-routing some of the wire bundles (I have a decent multi-meter). I noticed the heat sink to the CPU appeared to be clogged with dust. I had cleaned the case out about a month ago, but was reluctant to disassemble the heat sink and shroud at that time. I went ahead and removed the heat sink, and also two fans from their shrouds.

The CPU heat sink in the XPS is a beautiful thing; it has copper tubes (filled with some type of gas or liquid) that run thru the fins. Mine was about 35% covered in dust. My shut down may be heat related, I don't know.Attached File  XPS 400 dirty heat sink.jpg   79.72KB   6 downloads

I have it back up and running. I'll be able to run some diagnostics....thanks for the Dell diagnostic link above! The motherboard has one LED that has been staying green when ever the power cord is connected. The XPS 400 also has 4 diagnostic LEDs in the front panel; at the present time LEDs 1,2, and 4 are staying on.

I don't know what this means yet. I'll post an update.

Edited by BigElCat, 01 August 2012 - 10:18 PM.


#8 BigElCat

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:30 PM

I'm on the web with the XPS 400 at the present time. The 3 diagnostic LEDs mentioned previously are now 'off'. They may have been 'on' due to the peripherals being disconnected. This problem may have been cured with improved air flow.

Is this a possibility? I'll be sure and post here if I have any more challenges of this nature. Thanks again.

#9 nesto1000

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 12:20 AM

Wow! That is one dirty heatsink! I think that that was definitely the problem. Did you add new thermal paste when you put your heatsink back in?

CPU: Intel Core i7 2600k Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 Ram: CORSAIR XMS3 16GB HDD: ADATA (Micro Center branded) 64GB SSD, WD Caviar Black WD7501AALS 750GB GPU: XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 PSU: COOLER MASTER Silent Pro M600 RS-600-AMBA-D3 Case: COOLER MASTER RC-690

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#10 Artrooks

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 10:43 AM

The 3 diagnostic LEDs mentioned previously are now 'off'. They may have been 'on' due to the peripherals being disconnected.


For reference, here are the LED light and Beep codes for your system: Advanced Troubleshooting: Dell™ XPS™ 400 Service Manual

Also, nesto1000 made a good suggestion. You should clean and re-apply new thermal paste since you've gone this far. You might want to review my post here before attempting to remove the heat sink: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic463449.html/page__pid__2789845#entry2789845

To keep an eye on temperatures as you surf, you could install the free version of HWMonitor. Keep it open on your desktop.

Edited by Artrooks, 02 August 2012 - 10:47 AM.

Regards,
Brooks



 


#11 BigElCat

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 06:41 PM

I used an Artic Silver product called Artic Alumina. It is said to be a "premium ceramic polysynthetic thermal compound". It's what I had on hand. I'm not sure it's the right stuff or not; I ordered it based on fastest delivery time and low cost. I researched it's specs, and it seemed adequate. I'm ready to order some new thermal compound, does anyone have a favorite to recommend? Keep in mind that I'm economically disenfranchised....
:whistle:.

I would never have thought of the hair dryer trick. I'll use that sometime in the future. This heat sink came lose pretty easy. I used rubbing alcohol (91%) on a cotton ball to clean the heat sink and mating surface on the CPU. Again, I'm not sure it's the right thing to use, but it seemed to work.

I'll check out the HWMonitor.. Thanks again.

Edited by BigElCat, 02 August 2012 - 06:42 PM.


#12 BigElCat

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 09:04 PM

The XPS 400 ran fine for 9 days. Then it would not boot up. It would power up briefly, then go dead. It would repeat this until I disconnected the power cord. I tried it a second time, and the same thing happened.

I went ahead and ordered a new PSU. It's a HighPower brand HP-500-G12S. It's an upgrade to 500 watts, the original is 375 watts. I hope it cures my problem. Swapping it out will be a simple 1st step in the trouble shooting. It may even cure the problem. The new PSU should be here by Monday.

Any opinions on the HP-500-G12S?

What about Artic Alumina as a heat sink compound?

#13 BigElCat

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 08:15 PM

Before I swapped the PSU today, I attempted to power up the XPS 400 using the old power supply.

When I plugged the computer in, it made one attempt to boot, without me even pushing the power button. The fans spun briefly, but it failed to boot. No image appeared on the screen. It did not keep cycling with repeated attempts to boot like it did last week.

I installed the new power supply. The computer is behaving exactly like it did with the original power supply. It makes one attempt to start, but dies before the monitor even displays an image. Again, I don't even push the power button on the front panel, it just makes the attempt when I turn the power on to the PSU.

I sure wish I would have run Dell Diagnostics when the thing was running last time, but I though we had it fixed.

I'm going to replace the CMOS battery, even though it only keeps the date and time.

Thanks for any help.




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